Sunday, August 18, 2013

Wait

They say they'll come to get you
But they won't say why.

They'll block you
stalk you
stab you in the eye

They'll say they want to help you
But you know it's just a lie.

They'll fake you
make you
break down and cry

They'll say they want to let you
But not until you die.

What the heat brings

withered ragged hand
why do you reach so?

Cloudy eye in a cloudless sky
the heat curdles the blood
it's a good feeling
really
things slow down
breathe low
jump into the shade
lay there

be still now

You hear them cicadas
coming?  Theys too many
to count like them stars
just lay back
and let em scream
all the ways into the night

in the morning you'll have your rest

earth cool as its gonna get
till you see them shadows
small
like something you
wouldn't even notice
like a bug
with a shadow
tall as itself but
nothing
like them shadows that
come at the high heat of the day
when even a bug
got sense enough to lay low

be still now.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Weight, weight don't tell me...

Lately, my health has been more of an issue than ever before in my life.  Two months ago, I had another bout of illness that caused me to lose more than 10 pounds.  I dropped all the way down to 121 pounds, which really had me worried.  After all, that's something like ten percent of my total weight, which is significant because I really don't have anything extra to lose.  That is, when I get down below say, 125, I think I am starting to lose muscle mass, and that in itself is dangerous because it's not something I can get back very easily.

So, I was very worried, but eventually my appetite came back and with it, my weight went up.  That makes it sound easy, but in fact, it's been a determined effort on my part to gain weight.  At first, I started drinking those nutritional shakes, like Ensure or Boost, but even though they pack a lot of calories into a small bottle, I didn't see any results.  I think it has to do with the kind of calorie intake, not just the number, obviously, so I decided to try something else.  That turns out to be whey powder,  which offers the calories but in a form that is bulkier, and seems to have really contributed to my recent weight gain.  I combine the whey powder with soy milk, bananas, frozen strawberries and peaches, chocolate syrup, yogurt and wheat germ, blend it all up and drink it down.  It's fast to make and easy to eat, though it's really drinking more than eating.  It's loaded with calories, and lots of material to help me bulk up a bit.

Here's how it breaks down:

Whey powder  480
Soy milk  150
Banana 100
Peaches 40
Strawberries 40
Chocolate syrup 20
Yogurt 40
Wheat germ 20
Ice cream 110
Egg 75

Total for one drink is 975 calories.  Total needed for the day: 2500.  I don't keep a count of the other stuff I eat during the day, and I should, if I want to get a sense of how much more I need to eat in order to gain weight, but I rely on eating more than I ever have, more frequently and in greater quantities.  The result, after now nearly a month of intensive calorie intake, is that I weight above 133, flirting with 135.  My near-term goal is just that, 135, but my longer term goal is to get up to 140.

I can't do that, however, without adding some muscle mass, so I have also been working out.  Well, that's a bit of an exaggeration, since it makes it sound like I go to the gym and do an exercise routine.  What I actually do, however, is to lift a small (10lb) weight to build up my arms while I am watching television before bed.  When I started, just over a month ago, I could do 30 repetitions with my right arm and 20 with my left.  Yesterday, I got up to 75 with the right arm and 50 with the left.  Today my right arm hurts a bit, but that's a good sign.  As long as I keep up my calorie intake and maintain a regular workout routine, I think I can reach my goal.  It might take me a year, but I think once I get there I can keep it.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

A Day Without Windows

The day has finally arrived.  I am free from Microsoft.

This has been a goal of mine for some time, dating back to the days when Microsoft Word was the most important tool a writer could imagine having.  Those heady days were few in number, though.  I can't have tried to use MS Word for more than a few minutes before I became puzzled, frustrated or downright annoyed, and those same feelings--plus a few more--have been present as I've been forced to use MS product after product, on machine after machine.  Well, finally, I am off that merry-go-round.

I am writing this in my blog, of course, which is a Google product that I've used since the beginning of my online journal.  Back then, as I gradually decided which web services I thought would be useful to me, at one point it occurred to me that I could either select a variety of services that were hosted or backed by various entities--like Yahoo and AOL and MSN--or I could go with just one entity, Google, and hope that they would roll out those various services.  The analogy is often made with the Matrix, but yes indeed, I chose the blue pill (or was it the red one?) and went with Google.  My feeling was that someone has to run the world, and Google is a good candidate.  I gave them my email, my photos, and my blogs.  If they've shared them with the NSA, I don't mind.  My whole point was to make a public persona for myself, an online identity that one could recognize.  My image and my thoughts are on public display and I like that.  If I didn't I wouldn't be here.

So I chose Google, and this turns out to have been a good choice, at least from my perspective.  The most recent step has been to get a Chromebook and throw away my horrible pc at last.  I hated that awful machine so much.  It was noisy and hot, it collected dust and took forever to boot up.  Even then it crashed so often I could never rely on it.  Long ago I took my photos off the hard drive and put them on a portable drive.  Then I put them all in the cloud.  I'm still not sure how my photos in G+ (formerly Picassa) and those in Drive will sync up, but at some point I will have all my photos in one place, on the web, where I can see them and share them with my friends and family.  To do this, I don't need my massive pc, just this light little computer.  It's a lot like a book, in a way, but more so than the Macbook ever was, because it is in fact light and easy to use.

Easy to use doesn't really describe it, because in fact, it's just a browser.  Everything is done through the browser, or a couple of special tools, like the file selection window or the photo viewer.  It's fast because it doesn't have to boot up, and there's no hard drive to whine and heat up.  The machine is light enough to carry around and it sits on my lap without weighing a ton or burning my balls, but it's also nice and stable on a desktop.

But this is not meant to be an ad for Chromebook.  It is meant as a declaration of freedom, as in freedom from Microsoft.  Gone are the days of cursing MS engineers, and dreaming of meeting one in a dingy bar so I could rouse my fellow patrons to drag him out into the alley and beat him within an inch of his life with a useless pc.  Not unlike the printer-bashing scene from the Office, this is a fantasy shared by millions of people who've looked at their screen in disbelief, wondering what the hell just happened and how do I fix the mess I didn't even create?

Mysterious updates and missing data, long boot up times and repeated crashes, all these are things of the past.  Today I am free, free at last.